Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has a 43 - 29 percent lead over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich among Republican likely voters in Florida, the nation's first big-state presidential primary, according to Quinnipiac University poll released today. Only 7 percent are undecided, but 24 percent say they might change their mind by tomorrow's election.Public Policy Polling:
This compares to a 38 - 29 percent Romney lead in a January 27 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.
In today's survey, self-described conservatives go to Romney 40 - 31 percent. He gets 38 percent of white evangelical Christians to Gingrich's 33 percent and wins 40 percent of Tea Party members to Gingrich's 35 percent.
Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum each have 11 percent of likely primary voters today.
Romney gets a 64 - 25 percent favorability rating from likely primary voters, compared to 61 - 28 percent Friday. Gingrich has 51 - 42 percent favorability, compared to 50 - 28 percent Friday. Santorum is at 58 - 16 percent favorable, with a negative 35 - 45 percent for Paul.
"Gov. Mitt Romney is headed towards a double-digit victory that touches all the GOP bases," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Romney carries every part of the GOP coalition, including the parts central to Gingrich - self- described conservatives, white evangelical Christians and Tea Party supporters. If this margin holds up tomorrow, it's hard to see where Gingrich goes from here."
PPP's second day of tracking in Florida finds little change in the state of the race. Mitt Romney leads with 39% to 32% for Newt Gingrich with Rick Santorum at 14% and Ron Paul at 11%. Romney and Santorum are both down a single point from Saturday's polling while Paul has gained 2 points and Gingrich has stayed in place.
The reason we don't find Gingrich getting blown out by a double digit margin in Florida is that he's winning a lot of the same groups he did in South Carolina. He's up 37-33 with Evangelicals, 40-33 with Tea Partiers, and 36-29 with voters who describe themselves as 'very conservative.' The problem for him is that he's not winning those groups by the same kinds of margins that he did in the Palmetto State.
Romney continues to have a large lead in the bank in Florida. 34% of our respondents said they'd already voted and with those folks he has a 45-33 lead. That puts Gingrich in a position where he'd have to not only win the election day vote, but win it by 6 or 7 points to upset Romney in the state. The kind of reversal necessary to make that happen seems unlikely to occur in the next 48 hours.
Almost Romney's entire lead in Florida is coming from moderate voters. He has a 58-15 lead over Gingrich with them and only a 1 point advantage with the rest of the electorate. Other groups that continue to be a particular source of strength for Romney are seniors (48-32) and women (43-30).
We will have one final night of Florida tracking tomorrow.